God's Green Earth Day

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Somebody goofed—this title has too many words, right? Wrong! Every word’s here for a purpose. Read on.

Earth Day is coming up April 22. We can’t talk about the whole earth in these two pages. So let’s just take a look at green plants.

All our food comes from green plants in some way, as you’ll see later. So does the oxygen in the air we breathe. We can’t live without green plants. That’s why I used the word “Green” in the title.

The Bible tells us that God made the earth and everything in it. Look closely at a tiny blade of grass and you’ll see the hand of a great Creator. This definitely is God’s world.

So that’s why I called the title “God’s Green Earth Day.”

Dandy-lion

Find a dandelion and sit down next to it. (If you can’t find one, just imagine one, or look at a picture of a dandelion in a book.) Either way, you’ll see that this plant’s a real “dandy-lion.”

Look at the flower. See all those “petals”? They’re really not petals--each one is a tiny flower, or a “floret.” There are 100-300 florets in each dandelion flower. Why did God make dandelions this way? Because dandelions need bugs to spread pollen and help make seeds. Bugs don’t notice one floret, but they can’t miss more than 100 florets packed together.

If you see a fluffy white dandelion seed head, look at it closely. Those tiny “parachutes” help the seeds float far from the parent plant. Each dandelion wants its own growing space.

Run your finger over a dandelion seed, if you can. You’ll feel tiny backward pointing hooks. Those hooks help keep the seed in the soil when it’s planted.

Look at a leaf. See the big rib down the middle? This rib helps water roll down to the plant roots. And see the prickly edges? Some animals don’t like to eat prickly leaves, so prickly dandelion leaves protect the plant.

Try to pull the dandelion plant out of the ground. That’s tough to do, isn’t it?

That’s because the dandelion has a long taproot that keeps the plant firmly anchored. If you break the plant off from the taproot, another dandelion can grow in its place. It doesn’t want to be moved! It wants to grow right where it was planted.

Of course the plant doesn’t really “want” anything. It’s alive, but it can’t think. Obviously, Someone is thinking for it—and that Someone made the dandelion just right.

Treemendous

If you can, sit under a tree to read this. Be careful! You’re sitting beneath another living being.

You know what? This tree does exactly what you do to stay alive:

• It breathes. Its leaves or needles absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

• It eats. It uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to make its own food. Its roots hunt for and absorb the minerals it needs.

• It drinks. The tree’s roots absorb tons of water to carry food throughout its body.

But the tree does more than those things. Read on:

• It grows, just like most living things.

• It reproduces (makes more trees like itself). That why it makes seeds. Most tree seeds grow inside cones, fruits, or nuts on the tree.

Look at those words in color above. All green plants do the things that this tree can do. If this tree died, could you fix it and make it do those things again? Of course not. Only God can give things that spark of life.

Food for Thought

Try to think of one food that doesn’t somehow come from a green plant.

Hamburger? That’s usually beef. Beef cattle eat green plants. (If you eat soyburgers, those come from soybean plants.)

Hamburger buns? They’re made of flour, which comes from wheat.

Tuna? Fish eat tiny water plants or other creatures who have eaten plants.

Mushrooms? Nope. They use dead plants for food.

Candy? Sugar comes from beets or from the sugar cane plant.

Keep thinking; maybe you’ll come up with something. But as far as we know, all our food comes from green plants. There’s been only one exception. Read Exodus 16:13-17, 31 for that story.

Fun Facts

Scientists think that the world’s oldest living thing is a bristlecone pine tree named Methuselah. It’s about 4,600 years old. That means it was alive when Moses was born! It’s somewhere in the White Mountains of California (scientists don’t want to say where exactly it is because they want to protect it).

Poison ivy is for the birds. More than 50 different bird species eat poison ivy berries without getting sick.

Bamboo is a type of grass.

Banana plants are, technically, very large herbs.

Aspirin originally came from willow trees. It’s manufactured by drug companies now, but the formula came from a chemical found in willow tree bark.

God created green plants on the _____ day (check Genesis 1:11-13).

Mysterious Miner

Have you ever found a leaf with a strange whitish trail winding through it? What a story that tells!

That trail was made by a tiny fly, wasp, or moth called a “leaf miner.” The leaf miner spends part of its life between the top and bottom of a leaf. There are hundreds of different kinds of leaf miners, and each kind needs a different leaf.

Certain wasps are “parasites” of leaf miners. The wasp has to find a leaf miner at one specific time of the leaf miner’s life. It can’t be too late or too early.

These two creatures meet each other at the right time and place between the top and bottom of a leaf!

Sometimes we see God’s hand at work most clearly in small details.

About the Author

Joanne De Jonge is a freelance writer and a former U.S. National Park Ranger. She attends West Valley Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, Ariz.
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